Okay, so it’s not the most nutritious snack you can give a child. Not even close. But I am still totally bummed out that my unborn child will never get to eat the preservative-ridden, shortening-filled snack cake of my childhood. Of course, I am talking about the Twinkie. I’m also weeping silently for the death of the Ding-Dong.
I have one of those mothers that never bought sugary cereals, or cookies, or anything else that my friends in our suburban neighborhood consumed with some regularity. She is Greek, and was hell-bent on giving us “real” food. That’s why it made it all the more exciting when I could scrounge up the money to sneak away to the grocery store across the street, and buy a Twinkie. It was forbidden, it was horrible for me, and I had to hide it from my mom. That’s kind of a right-of-passage of childhood – don’t you think?
When the news came out this week that Hostess was closing its 33 plants and putting its snack brands up for sale, I immediately called my sister. She replied, “at least there will still be Devil Dogs. Those are the best!” See, there is something magical that happens when you even talk about these awful little things. You turn into a kid again. I had to dash her dreams by reminding her that Drake’s, maker of Devil Dogs, is owned by Hostess and will be going out of business as well.
I briefly considered buying a case, and saving it for a while. I’ve heard the urban legends about how long these things will last, since they are not made with anything found in nature. Turns out – like most urban legends – the idea that they have an infinite shelf-life is wrong. According to Wikipedia, “this urban legend is false, although Twinkies can last a relatively long time (25 days or more) because they are made without unstabilized dairy products and thus spoil more slowly than most bakery items.” So much for stocking up.
I’m sure both of my children will have their own favorite, horrible snack foods. Those foods will become a part of their memory of childhood, just like Twinkies are a part of mine. To be honest, I probably never would have consumed another Twinkie again. I guess there is just something a little sad about staple images from your childhood – like Wonder Bread and Ding Dongs – disappearing forever.